Recent funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is backing Leila Mostaço-Guidolin and co-investigator Edana Cassol’s research to better understand the essential mechanisms of asthma in the lungs—one of the most common chronic respiratory diseases in Canada.

Mostaço-Guidolin, a Canada Research Chair and assistant professor in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, and Cassol, an associate professor in the Department of Health Sciences, are receiving $673,200 over the next five years from the CIHR’s Project Grant program. This program recognizes ideas with the greatest potential for important advances in fundamental or applied health-related knowledge.

Along with a multidisciplinary team at the Tissue Engineering and Applied Materials (TEAM) Hub, Mostaço-Guidolin and Cassol are investigating the effects of asthma, and associated diseases like fibrosis, on cell development in the lungs. Currently, there is no cure for these lung diseases, only treatments to relieve their symptoms. Mostaço-Guidolin and Cassol are integrating tissue engineering and state-of-the-art imaging to bring new perspectives and approaches to asthma treatment to eventually reverse the process of the disease.

“We are aiming to address a significant gap in understanding the development of asthma by creating 3D airway tissue models to observe, with an unprecedented level of detail, how the lungs are affected by asthma,” said Mostaço-Guidolin.

By analyzing 3D lung tissue models of normal and asthmatic lung structures, the researchers are seeking to identify adverse cellular and mechanical changes in the lungs as they respond to asthma. Scarring of lung tissue is a central feature of asthma. Understanding how changes in lung structure affect cell function and further damage will help reverse the disease process.

“Findings from our research will guide the search for new therapeutic asthma targets for developing new medications to treat not only asthma but other incurable diseases affecting Canadians,” said Cassol. 

Learn more about Mostaço-Guidolin and Cassol’s research team.

See more about understanding chronic lung diseases.

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